How to Look Good on BeReal

If you want to live your life online authentically and with integrity, then sadly this guide isn’t for you.
Daisy Jones
London, GB
A fake BeReal of someone smiling on a street
Image: Getty

Well, will you look at that. After years of lamenting the inauthenticity of social media and how it slowly erodes our mental health like an invisible parasite, we've finally got what we've been asking for: an authentic social media platform. Enter BeReal, the social media app with no filters, no aesthetic grid and photos that disappear around 24 hours after you've posted them.

The problem with BeReal is that it does actually do what it says on the tin. BeReal has become a sea of people crouched over Slack and Excel spreadsheets. The amount of depression naps I see on BeReal is genuinely depressing. Turns out that most people aren't at wild warehouse parties on a Friday night, but are in fact binge-watching Love is Blind on Netflix again or posting photos of their cat looking indistinguishable from other cats. 


For a lot of people, the aforementioned might come as a huge and welcome relief. But look: if I wanted to “be real”, I would simply open my eyes, get out of bed and carry on with my day of filing invoices and descaling the kettle. If I desperately wanted to share that with others I would message the group chat. Social media apps are not for being real. They are for making people fancy you and/or be jealous.

If you want to live your life online authentically and with integrity, then read no further. This guide isn't for you, sadly. If you are, however, a worm like me, then may I present a handy guide to looking good on BeReal – the app that wants to make you look anything but.

Turn off your push notifications

BeReal loves to notify me when I'm doing something mundane like heating up beans in the microwave or wiping down my salt lamp with a damp cloth. This can be solved very simply by turning off your notifications and only BeReal-ing when you’re doing something genuinely interesting like, I don’t know, singing karaoke or holding a puppy. If you’re not doing anything exciting that day then don’t bother taking a photo. Even if that means missing a pic of your friend studiously chopping onions on a Thursday at 1PM.

Take advantage of ‘golden hour’

For some reason the photo quality on BeReal makes everyone look pale and grainy and like they have been given a few days left to live. With that in mind, you're going to have to get to grips with good lighting if you don’t want to look like an open casket every time you post.

If you have one of those neon light sticks in your bedroom then that can add a little atmosphere to your selfies, but nothing is more fail safe than the natural yellow shimmer of golden hour, when the sun first starts setting and makes everyone look inexplicably stunning. Golden hour is classically between 5 and 7PM, but these days it’s more like 3PM, so run outside as soon as you’ve eaten lunch.


Know your angles

Anyone over the age of 25 was taught that there was only one angle for a decent selfie to be taken and that's from above. But the Gen Z girlies have long known that to be a lie and a myth. If anything, the “taken from above selfie" makes you look like a married boomer on a dating app.

Instead, why not take a mirror selfie in someone’s bathroom that’s nicer than yours? Or get someone else to take a selfie on your phone and you can kind of linger in the background, looking aloof.

Or, for a weird and mysterious vibe, take a selfie from below while outside. If you look really bad that day, give the camera a little shake so that the picture is slightly blurred and people will think you’re in a hurry.

Posting when completely trashed: no

You’re four or five drinks in and it’s 11PM and you’re possibly a little high and for some reason you think now is the perfect time to BeReal. “Wanna be in my BeReal???” you ask the person next to you, who screams and immediately leans in. Try to avoid doing this all the time. You’ll only wake up the next day and realise that you forgot BeReal takes a pic on the front-facing cam too and look, there you are, mascara down your face, a manic, bleary look in your eye, jaw swinging. “R u okay?” reads the one comment below.

Create some intrigue

Most people just rotate their lives between work and home, with some socialising in between. And there are only so many club toilet photos with the girls that can fix this one. Instead, drum up a bit of intrigue. Do a slow boyfriend reveal. Take a photo with a random person you met on the street; I know someone who did this, and everyone was like, “Who is that??” The other day, I saw someone post a pic of Alan Carr at 3AM at a houseparty. Give the people what they want (the unexpected).


Master the thirst trap

The great thing about BeReal is that it’s new enough that your elder colleagues and family members won’t have joined yet, giving it a lawless, “close friends” feel. This – coupled with the fact your photos disappear after 24 hours – makes the platform ripe for a slightly risque shot. This doesn’t mean you should treat BeReal like your own personal OnlyFans (there’s no money in it!), but there’s no harm in flashing a little section of tit now and then, or a suggestive boxer shot. It’s only a matter of time before the app becomes as puritanical as the others, so make use of this precious era like it’s Tumblr circa 2011.

Make your place look nice

You’re probably under 30, so I can safely assume you live in a shithole for £870 PCM like the rest of us. Even so, try and make your place look nice at least within the two small rectangles that you’ll be revealing (the rest can be a pigsty, who cares). Don’t show people your overflowing laundry basket and old plates; push it out of shot. And please, nobody wants to see a bed selfie from your brown flat sheets beside a mug of rollie butts. String up some lights or something. Get a plant.

And finally… put your best pics on Instagram

I know that defeats the point and Instagram is kind of dead these days, but why post loads of fit pics if only seven people see them in the space of 24 hours, three of whom are your flatmates who saw you take the pic to begin with???